1.2m or 3.7m – what is success for Sun on Sunday?

Posted on 21/02/2012


Sunday Newspaper ABCs

It’s no surprise that the Sun on Sunday will finally launch this weekend.

But how will News International measure success? The latest ABC circulation figures show that over 1.2 million readers were added to other Sunday tabloids (including the loss of readers experienced by the Mail on Sunday) since the closure of the News of the World.

But, more importantly, the whole Sunday tabloid newspaper market lost more than 1.5m readers as a result of the closure of the News of the World.

So, is the aim to bring back 1.2m readers from other titles, or try and re-capture the market which has drifted away? Bearing in mind the News of the World only sold 2.7m in January 2011, the lower figure is probably more likely.

But News International, with a multi-million pound advertising campaign, are pushing an initial print run of 3 million.

If they can sustain that level of circulation it will not only defeat the competition, but reverse the severe decline in print circulations as a whole. And these circulations, as the chart (bottom left) shows are driven by the tabloids.

But the real question will be if the NI’s Sunday re-entry can spark a boost in the combined ABC and ABCe figures which show a much more positive picture for the broadsheets than the tabloid market (bottom right chart).

So, while the media may focus on a new print product, we need to hear more about the Sun on Sunday’s digital strategy.

UPDATE: The Sunday Insider reckons that part of SoS’s digital strategy will be to:

Swipe some of the DailyMail Onliners and put premium ‘extras’ behind a nice wee paywall

Not sure adding a confusing paywall strategy is a sensible plan for a new launch – and attracting people away from the Daily Mail site (which is loved by even non-traditional-Mail readers) will work. But, IF Murdoch can succeed in pulling in some of the Mail’s 5m+ unique users, add them to the 1.5m Sun online users AND get them to pay for the privilege, the launch will be not just a success but a triumph.

It’s a lot to ask of one, weekly, paper.

Sunday newspaper ABCs - tabloid vs quality, print figures only

Sunday newspaper ABC & ABCes - tabloid vs quality, print and online figures combined